Companies

RIL: refining steals the show again

Anand Kalyanaraman BL Research Bureau | Updated on January 23, 2018




The refining business of Reliance Industries (RIL) put up a solid show once again, helping the company notch up record profits in the September quarter.

The seven-year high gross refining margin of $10.6 a barrel was in contrast to the fall in the benchmark Singapore complex margin. The latter slipped from the June quarter due to weakness in diesel margins.

RIL attributes its good show to product mix flexibility – suggesting that it produced more of petrol, margins of which held firm. The segment grew its operating profit 42 per cent year-on-year.

This was complemented by the good show in the petrochemicals segment, the next biggest with a 30 per cent share in overall operating profit. Strong petchem margins and higher volumes saw the segment’s September quarter profit rise seven per cent year-on-year.

These more than made up for the continued weak show in the oil and gas exploration business. The segment’s profit is down nearly 70 per cent year-on-year though it has risen more than seven-fold over the June quarter.

The sequential improvement was not due to any revival in the domestic business, which continues its downward slide. Rather, lower costs and modest volume growth in the US shale business helped the sequential performance.

The exploration business contribution has shrunk to just 2-3 per cent of overall revenue and profit.

The retail business though chugged along steadily with 18 per cent growth in profit year-on-year, and five per cent rise on a sequential basis. Both higher same-store-sales and new store openings across formats helped.

The company has projected the commercial launch of the telecom business to be in 2016-17, belying hopes of an impending launch later this fiscal.

While debt levels are rising due to the ongoing capital expenditure in the refining and petroleum businesses, the cash hoard at almost ₹86,000 crore remains quite comfortable.

Published on October 16, 2015

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